More judges dropping immigration deportation cases

Miami HeraldNovember 4, 2010 

Immigration judges are dismissing deportation cases in greater numbers in Miami and around the country.

In August and September, for example, judges at Miami immigration court dismissed 631 deportation cases compared to 449 in June and July.

In fact, the 324 cases immigration judges dismissed in August was the highest monthly case termination figure in the last 12 months, according to statistics the Justice Department's immigration court system released last week.

Gerda Pierre, 22, was among the hundreds of immigrants in deportation proceedings whose cases were recently dismissed in Miami immigration court.

Pierre, a Bahamian-born Haitian, learned Oct. 7 when she appeared in immigration court that she no longer faced deportation and would be allowed instead to apply for a green card.

``I felt like a heavy weight [was] lifted off my shoulders,'' said Pierre, who had been in proceedings since 2006. ``I felt free.''

While immigration court officials would not speculate on why judges are terminating more cases than before, some attorneys said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement trial attorneys now seem more willing to drop deportation cases against certain foreign nationals.

But other attorneys in Miami said they had not noticed any change in ICE attitude and that any increase may be tied to the federal government's decision to grant Temporary Protected Status or TPS to undocumented Haitian immigrants.

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